AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions
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  1. #1

    AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    Hey all,

    Im new to the forum, and welding as well, and have a few questions in regards to picking out a welding machine.

    First, let me begin by saying that Im going to be taking an introductory welding class at a local vocational college at the start of their next term, and have been reading up on welding safety, processes, tools, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. However, Id like to make a decision and purchase a welder before I begin the class so that I can get some practice in over the summer, as im a regular college student as well and wont have as much time to devote to it come the fall.

    In one of the books that I have been reading, the Lincoln Electric AC 225 tombstone style buzz box comes up quite a lot. The author says that it will last a lifetime, costs about 300 bucks, and can weld up to the scale of building trailers and dirt track cars. Sounds pretty good to me.

    I understand that stick welding may not be the easiest first step in welding, and that many people suggest purchasing a used welder first, but im in the market for a new welder that can tackle as many of the potential tasks that im going to throw at it as possible.

    Im primarily going to be welding things like heavy duty skid plates for my truck, thick metal brackets, mounts, maybe even a roll cage down the road for the mustang im building, etc. However, (and i know its greatly frowned upon) Id also like to have the capability to take on the few odd aluminum jobs that i will undoubtedly encounter (once ive practiced a good bit, of course), so I started looking into AC/DC welders (as i understand it, I need a DC+ capable welder to weld aluminum right?).

    I read almost all of Rick V's posts on stick welding aluminum, and it shows that he uses 120 amps DC+ for most of his work, so I started looking for something that could put out 120 DC+ and came across this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Electr.../dp/B004HL5S32

    Its a Lincoln Electric AC/DC 225/125 230 Volt stick welder (#k1297), and it seems to me that its essentially just an upgraded AC 225 buzz box like the author of the book I am reading so highly regards. So, my question is, would this be a good fit since it appears to be able to handle all of the tasks as an AC 225, with the added benefit of being able to pump out DC(+/-)?

    Also, what is the difference between the previously linked AC/DC 225/125 and this one that costs $135 more? Just the cost?

    http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Electr...ref=pd_cp_hi_0

    Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. (And like I said, I know stick welding aluminum is less than desirable to most, but just having then capability if need be in a real pinch makes a whole lot of difference to me)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Near Dallas, TX
    Posts
    1,448

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    For the money, I would suggest the Hobart Stickmate AC/DC welder vs. the Lincoln. That's what I started out on for a stick welder. It has slightly higher output rating, costs less,and has continuous current adjustment as opposed to the tapped switch of the Lincoln.

    Want a really good stick machine? Find a Lincoln Idealarc 250 as shown in my avatar pic. Those things are pretty bullet proof, have better output and duty cycle, and just generally can weld circles around the buzz box welders. The downside, is that you'll need a fairly hefty amount of electrical current to power the welder at flat out, but that doesn't mean you have to run that much power to it. There are plenty of these to be found and Lincoln still sells the same unit in a square top version to this day. Round top to square top is about the only thing that has changed over the decades. The guts are virtually identical to the older units.

    Good luck, but as I said, if it came down to the Lincoln vs. the Hobart, I did, and would opt for the latter brand for the aforementioned reasons.

    Good luck,

    Papa
    Lincoln Idealarc 250 (circa 1962)
    Lincoln Weldpak 155 w/Mig Kit
    Lincoln Squarewave TIG 175

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    2,916

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    Both those ads say it's a Model K1297, so the difference is in shipping and their profit. I saw an older AC/DC unit the other day on Craigslist for around $100., but it was a bit far away from me. $150.- $200. is more the norm, when you can find them. An AC-only can be had for half that. If the insulation on the wires isn't shot, they are just fine.

    DC isn't just for Aluminum (good luck with that). It is preferred for most regular work and will make your learning curve easier. If you could have seen my son years ago learning to strike an arc with the "90" Amp $40. Speedway AC welder I had, you would understand. I had to stand way back so he wouldn't hear me laughing.

    Edit,

    As Papa says, you can't beat an Idealarc 250, or the blue flavor, the Miller DialArc. We got a DialArc for $300. and it's not going away, even though we also have a Syncrowave 250. Too nice to part with. I think the Lincoln isn't quite as power hungry due to the design.
    Last edited by Oldendum; 06-19-2012 at 01:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    12

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    I would go with ac/dc unit,then if you wanted to later you could add a tig torch and use it to scratch start tig weld with..For aluminum I would use ac with a high frequency stabilizer,much easier to weld aluminum this way

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,097

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    where you located ? There are a lot on craigs list. Both the lincoln AC/DC and the miller
    AC/DC thunderbolt. Depending on your location ,these can be found from $100 to $300.
    Location has a big impact on prices.
    On another thought ,depending on your budget and funds, consider a stick tig machine.
    Something like a Miller 180 SD or the newer 200 syncro.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    NW ON Canada
    Posts
    1,377

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    Couple of things...
    DC+ for all your stick welding
    DC- for scratch start tig (steel and stainless steel only)
    Forget about stick welding aluminum. It is a horrible way to weld aluminum and is never used to weld aluminum in industry. You can only weld thick aluminum with stick and the results are very marginal, to say the least. Thin aluminum is impossible with stick.
    You need a deticated ac/dc tig welder with high frequency start and preferably square wave output to do a decent job of welding aluminum. This machine however, is not in your budget you are wanting to spend at this time.
    Jason
    Lincoln Idealarc 250 stick/tig
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52
    Torchmate CNC table
    I.A.M. Local 771
    Ironworkers Local 720

    Owner/Operator Devlin Metal Works
    Custom CNC Plasma Cutting and Welding

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    87
    I bought this whole setup a few months ago for $300. That's a Tec Torch Co TIG
    torch in the front. It came with a bunch of consumables too. The welder itself
    is 4 years old and looks brand new. Now reason to buy brand new at all. Buy used.
    They don't have moving parts (not really anyway) to wear out. They're pretty simple
    machines. My grandpa's Lincoln AC machine was purchased USED in 1957, and
    is still welding strong.


  8. #8

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    Thanks for all the input guys, it helps out a lot. As of right now, based on budget and all other things considered, im starting to think a Hobart Stickmate with a tig torch like was suggested is the way to go. I know aluminum is unrealistic and that im going to be working with almost entirely steel, but like i said, its nice to have the "capability" to do so since you never know what kind of situation you'll end up in. Then down the road I can save some money and look into getting a TIG machine so I can do it the right way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    4,341

    Re: AC/DC 225/125 buzz box questions

    My Econotig will do aluminum well enough for training purposes, and as a stick welder, it is sweet. It was bought used, with the cart, and I found it advertised here.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    City of L.A. Structural; Manual & Semi-Automatic;
    "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore."
    Job 28:1,2

    Lincoln, Miller, Victor & NKJV Bible

    Danny

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